Tag Archives: UFHRD

UFHRD Conference – 7 June 2013

… and here we go on the final day of the UFHRD Conference on Friday 7 June. I’m only covering the opening keynote and then travelling home.

The keynote is by Stephen McNair  (Centre for Research in the Older Workforce) “Work and Learning in Later Life”.

Mostly talks to policy audiences which, compared to an academic audience, have a very different view on what is evidence. Will be discussing research in to the training of the older workforce including a study funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

What should we care about the older workforce? As we can see long-term rising lide expectancy that will continue – we have acquired 20 years additional lifespan over the last 100 years. Also fertility rates are low and so the population is ageing and so oler age support ratios are deteriorating. The UK fertility rates are not as poor as in eg, Finland and Japan due to migration into UK.

Also the issue fo the loss of talent and experience is a critical weakness for business and so need to retain the more experienced workers. This is a serious problem in the engineering sector, especially nuclear engineering, sector.

Legal changes have abolish age discrimination including mandatory retirement.  But also the rise and harmonisation in the state pension age. More older people are working which is a striking change in the last 15 years. Many older people have a choice of whether to work or not and how they work shifting the balance of power in the employment relationship.

The older workforce in the UK: the labour market freezes at 50 in terms of career progression/ promotion etc. and if you’re unemployed at that age you are very likely to remain unemployment – as an unconscious discrimination process. But it is easier to stay in a job for longer indicating the strength of being *in* the labour market. Many organisations have no older workers – a third of firms have never employed someone over 50. After 50, the workforce is increasingly female, in larger organisation and in the public sector and the implications of this in the financial constraints is unknown. At 60 the older labour force splits according to gender and qualifications and work is increasingly part-time and self-employed.

most older people like work and want to stay in work especially if they could work more flexibly including phased retirement. Some want progression and new challenges. Older people are motivated by: interest in the job; status and respect; social engagement; finance and a sense of purpose and structure in life. Finance is almost never in the top three in surveys but may be a British reticence in discussing money (compared to surveys in USA).

Returning to work is harder for older workers with lower qualifications, with partner not in work and work experience in a declining industry.

Higher qualifications increase employability where gained early in a career and it is not clear that qualifications in later life have a positive impact on careers and employment.

So there are two models of older workers: a dynamic force contributing to innovation and growth vs a marginal group used to fill short-term gaps in the labour supply. Older people are not recruited unless the employer is “desperate” despite the benefits of employing older workers.

“The learning and work in later life” study looking at training and work in later life to inform public policy- see here. Included primary and secondary analysis of workers, policy=makers and employers. Most employers did not report a skills problem with older workers and most older workers felt their skills matched the jobs or that they were over qualified indicating an issue in underemployment. The self-employed especially reported being very over qualified as did older, older workers.

Training participation concentrated in the 25 – 55 age range and then falls. Training is more common  for women and in well-qualified, high status occupations, higher social class and those in full-time employment. There is less training of older people in the private sector. There is no evidence of older workers refusing training. Also experience of training is positive. But training tends to be for shorter duration but this is a preference of older workers.

Reasons for not training: perception that the return is low and so is not a valued investment (especially by line managers); poor management and a ‘conspiracy to under-perform’ between the workers and line managers as older workers training needs may be complicated to negotiated; qualifications tend to be over valued over experience.

Training tends to be provided by employers to rectify performance and for promotion (so favour younger workers); employers are more likely to support older rather than younger workers; reporting that employers support training of older workers but also report employers favour training younger workers; ICT has changed attitudes to training and learning; few employers and employees think training helps older people re-enter the labour market (although some employers think qualifications will help).

Fit between motivation and training – training and interesting work self-reinforcing; social benefits and sense of control over life and bridging world of work in to retirement all suggest importance of training. But where training is being imposed by employer or some external body; if seen as a criticism of an individual’s competence for longer-serving employees and where perceived to lead to loss of status, isolation etc.. training is not beneficial.

Influences on training: workplace learning culture; perceived career stage; job mobility; evident need; cost effectiveness and full-time status all support training take-up.

The older workforce is distinct but diverse. Older workers think their skills are adequate or they are over qualified. But the decline in learning is real

Need for positive role models and challenge stereotypes and promote importance of training to reduce career risk. Need joined up policy form govt (between Dept Business, Innovation & Skills and DWP), tailoring training and understanding what works in training including segmenting the older workforce and work-life balance issues are important.

If you’re fifty, what are you going to do over the next 20 years? England does have a national careers service (but at same time as it stopped advertising government services). Mid career review (at 50 years)  project to be piloted by NIACE through the national careers service: is there demand; what are the issues and what are the best models for delivery?


Is there evidence on the stereotype of older workers finding it difficult to learn (not just training)?

Evidence on older peoples’ learning processes is very limited and tend to be focused on particular older people rather than for older people as a general population. But inked to a change in understanding of what is meant by learning and expanded to a wider range of activities.

There is evidence of legislation having a positive impact. For example, the right of appeal on retirement decisions has lead to employers and employees having conversations and arriving at mutually beneficial solutions.


So that’s it – we’re just hearing about the next conference in Edinburgh 2014 hosted by Edinburgh Napier University.

UFHRD Conference 5 June 2013

This years UFHRD conference is themed on human resource development (HRD) and the challenges and opportunities in times of economic uncertainty. I’ll be life blogging the event as best I can (including a disregard for the conventions of spelling, syntax and grammer).

First up is a keynote address from Kathryn Mountford, Head of HR at the Money Advice Service on “Leadership, HRD and Organisational Change”.

To start with some background on Kathryn’s own experience across three organisations which has had the benefit for her being being able to see the results of change initiatives. Included working for Church of England especially in terms of assert management. From mid 1990s worked in transforming the Pensions Regulator and expanding its abilities in supporting development of pensions and now with Money Advice Service.

Therefore all have a strong public sector ethos but now under pressure to: deliver more for less; digital enabled and changing in customer and stakeholder expectations (and away from being producer/ provider centric to customer-centric). Much change involved bringing in private sector expertise to the public sector in, eg, asset management or business transformation.

Looking at a series of stereotypes of private sector workers in the public sector:

the maverick usually from start-up or similar environment to push through agile development, new ideas, networking and creativity. Good at engaging people in change but can be too radical for some creating tension with Boards. They tend to see HR as blocking change – the police. Also become easily bored and can get distracted by new things… need t be occupied with ‘right’ sort of work.

The aggressor: on a personal mission to transform the poor public sector and driving through massive tides of change and introducing a commercial mindset. Very good networkers and ambassador of organisation. Tell lots of ‘battle’ stories and can be keen to be seen as elite of the organisation which can create tensions. They may have come from a macho environment and can bring that with them which again can create tensions – can often include women from private sector.

The evangelist: joins the organisation as have had a bashing in the private sector and looking for some form of redemption. Can be great at moving the organisation forward with focus on the purpose of the organisation. Can be very evangelical and bringing in fresh skills and networks while reminding colleagues of what they’ve given up to join the organisation. Tend to be keen on HR as welfare provider and employee focused.

The corporate player: worked in large private institutions such as banking and insurance focused on governance and hierarchy. Very good on maintaining core activities during change but tend to have a dislike of the uncertainty and mess of change. Can also find it harder giving up their position as small fish in a big pond and becoming a bigger and accountable fish!

the consultant: used to working in uncertainty but can rely on previous approaches being applicable to public sector and also also seeking to increase their own revenues rather than  the job in hand. The best consultants seek to leave a positive legacy.

The real worlders: a great asset to the organisation coming from bigger institutions working on big ventures and now at end of their careers looking to give something back – were very valuable in the Pensions Regulator. Helped other staff in coping with the changes in the public sector and the realities of the private sector environment.

Other elements important for making the best of private sector skills in public sector organisations. There needs to be a clear organisational appetite for bringing in the private sector and this is explained to staff the benefits of a mixed workforce. The HR strategy needs to be geared to manage a mixed workforce of short-term employees, contractors and secondees and along with development of existing staff, eg, secondments to the private sector and L&D interventions.

Also important on clarifying the values of the organisation that are used to manage staff behaviours to create a longer-term stable environment. Recognition and reward balanced between existing staff rewards and needs to attract higher performers from private sector. Boards need to understand the link between salary and behaviours. Job titles are important so those from private sector do not perceive a loss of status as well as provide mentoring/ internal consulting opportunities.

Recruitment and selection becoming more aligned with private sector practices including use of head hunters and how the organisational proposition is stated. Also important to demonstrate the absence of bureaucracy in the pubic sector recruitment processes.

HR business partnering in a period of change presents opportunities and challenges of bringin in new talent but needs managing.

Bringing in private sector colleagues is common in the public sector and can provide lots of value in terms of knowledge and understanding transformational change. Modernisation is something private sector has a good deal of experience of. HR can help to facilitate the organisation to make best use of such staff and act as guardians of the values of the public sector host.


1. to what extent has HRD been part of the contribution of these private sector staff in public sector organisations?

Kathryn cited experience of some private sector colleagues pushing importance of progressive HRD provision but their remains a residual view of HR as an administrative function.

2. which is the hardest stereotype if the hardest to manage?

The Maverick can be the hardest as provide a lot of value as focused on driving change and innovation and leading teams but challenging as don’t take account of governance and related concerns in public sector.

3. Do you have bringing in academics to your organisations?

MAS currently working with academics on consultancy basis so can be precise on what the academics are being asked for. Tend to support change rather than lead change.

4. How do you retain the corporate players?

But need to be realistic and you shouldn’t plan to retain the corporate player – rather treat them as an interim manager and manage expectations along these lines.

5. not all private sector people will be successful in transferfing to the public sector and what is your experience of that?

Need to acknowledge that there will be failure. From my own experience, possibly roles for the mavericks could have been better design to focus on innovation rather than in combination with general management activities.

6. does working under government whim prove difficult.

MAS is independent but public sector and raises question of role of MAS as focused on government agenda or to be more citizen-centric. Also MAS bring in colleagues from central government.

7. what has been the reaction of public sector staff to private sector colleagues?

Often based on stereotypes of private sector workers that can only be dealt with by experience of private sector colleagues. HR’s role is to ensure their is a fairness and transparency in how staff are treated and that all staff describe themselves as working for XXX rather than “being on secondment from …”.


Moving on now to the main conference paper sessions.

I’m in the session on Innovation, Sustainability & HRD.

First paper from Chris Mabey on managing the paradoxes of staying innovative. This is based on research taking place at CERN/ ATLAS on what re strategic knowledge assets, are these being leveraged effectively and can HRD functions facilitate this? These questions are relevant to universities as sites of knowledge activists.

Three kinds of knowledge: from structured (codified/ abstract/ materialised/ formalised)  through to unstructured/ experiential and highly personalised knowledge as a single axis with narrative knowledge (stories and fables) at the mid-point. A second axis is about diffusion/ sharing of knowledge – with structured knowledge being the least problematic in terms of diffusion, eg, public knowledge. WHile widely diffused unstructured knowledge might be understood as common wisdom.

In terms of strategic management concepts, core competences might be seen as unstructured and difficult to diffuse. Patents and copyright may be more structured but still not widely diffused. Industry-wide principles might be structured and diffused. Industry wisdom is widely diffused but unstructured.

But what does this mean for HRD as all knowledge ‘types’ have benefits and challenges and attached to them. So personal/ unstructured experiential knowledge share through mentoring but often not captured by the organisation – cited Polyani stating we know more than we can say – and is fragmented. So this knowledge leaks especially with downsizing of organisations. While proprietary knowledge can be locked-in/ rigid, under exploited and perishable. Public knowledge brings challenges of being in the public arena and therefore common/ lacks differentiation and may not be validated – so downloadable competence frameworks work but provide no differentiation or specific fit. Conventional wisdom provides the challenge of how to locate and use such knowledge (boundary spanners).

ATLAS as a huge experiment involving 3,500 scientists and engineers at the large hadron collider. Scientists and engineers asked what knowledge they needed to do their jobs – requiring high structure and diffusion – while the unstructured and experiential and difficult to diffuse was also cited as important to getting the work done.

How could the tacit knowledge be understood and diffused to wider group of people given the scale of the organisation? How do we identify the core knowledge assets and leverage that including managing leakage of knowledge from the organisation where staff turnover is high (due to secondments, short-term research contracts etc.).

But …. paradoxes: (1) the more knowledge is managed the less valuable knowledge will be exchanged. For HRD need to acknowledge that the scientists/ engineers are highly motivated by the shared goals of the experiments and professional peer pressure rather than corporate compliance. Also, they are seeking long-term legacies rather than short-term benefits. So HRD might look to coaching, mentoring, apprenticeships and light-touch governance to avoid micro-management.

(2) the more democratic knowledge sharing is designed, the more intentional leadership is required –  to lead spontaneous exchanges of tacit knowledge, eg, in the importance of the cafeteria as a site of knowledge exchange. But this needs to be thought about, planned and supported. “Things work when people identify themselves with the project”, eg, place the emphasis on ethos setting but “nudge to make it happen”.

(3)  the more knowledgeable the professional the less likely they are able to lead. As there is a tension between specialists vs boundary scanners and focused on trusted sources rather than drawing in other perspectives (know what rather than how) and emphasise output rather than process and emphasise collective acknowledgement over solo success. For HRD, how can the function support boundary scanning and diffusing; developing skills in learning, diversity and emotional intelligence.

(4) the more informal knowledge sharing is, the more open to elitism it becomes: ‘the tyranny of structurelessness’.


1. what sort of people were interviewed and to what extent the nature of the people involved in the ATLAs project have influenced findings?

59 people interviewed at CERN and so tended to be successful but also interviewed some people in China. So cannot claim representativeness but did interview a wide-range of people. But ATLAS are atypical but we can still learn from them for a knowledge-based economy. We can really learn in terms of long-term horizon and the ethos formulation.


Now on to Alex & Andrea  Ellinger and Scott Fitzer on Leveraging HRD to Improve Supply Chain Management (SCM) Knowledge & Skills. Looking for HRD and SCM synergy in response to the talent shortages in SCM as SCM becomes increasingly complex through globalisation. In particular, the people aspects of SCM have been de-prioritised to technology and customer-service issues.

SCM professionals manage risk, relationships and tradeoffs requiring softer people skills to harders statistical analysis and problem-solving. In addition, senior managers tend not to appreciate the complexity of the SCM roles. This is important – up to 75% of firm revenue is spent on SCM activities (Trent 2004) – purchasing, manufacturing, moving, storing, selling, servicing products, etc……[but then is there anything left?]

But SCM tend to be dominated by a ‘push’ perspective focused on cost control and specifications rather than relationship-building and customer-centric so responsive to market demand. This places the focus on process innovation rather than process improvement (six sigma etc.).

So we can see functional specialisation of organisations acts as barrier to knowledge sharing  including the lack of understanding of SCM among other and senior managers. Including making the financial-SCM connection. Gives rise to dis-functional incentives around sales and production. But also, SCM have been weak on making the business-case for SCM investments at the C-level – see R.E Slone (2004) Leading a Supply-Chain Turnaround. HBR.

The problem is the supply-demand split in organisations as the two facets of the organisation fail to communicate to one another. Demand-Supply integration requires HRD interventions. But the field of HRD little understood in the SCM domain. HRD as focused on learning, performance and change.

Both HRD and SCM are marginalised in organisations. But SCM offers an opportunity to demonstrate the strategic importance of HRD as 75% revenues tied into SCM. So what can HRD offer SCM and SC Managers? HRD may have strategic role in facilitating solutions development around the people development and change needs in SCM and developing the competences of SCManagers to respond to the challenges they are facing.

Game changing SCM trends (Sweeney): collaboration; lean & six sigma; management of complexity’ network optimisation; globalisation; sustainability; cost and working capital. Human and behavioural of SCM neglected in comparison to physical and technical components. Key areas for HRD may be in organisational development aspects of facilitating collaboration, learning supporting for six-sigma (coaching etc). SCM is foremost about people yet the people dimension in SCM is under researched (Sweeney, 2013).

HRD classified as one of the pillars of excellence in SCM and research consistently demonstrate impacts of HRD interventions on effective SCM. Senge (2010) content SCM needs to be transformed if organisations are going to be focused on sustainability and environmental issues.


1. links SCM to food sector in UK that reinforces points made in the presentation.

Also the importance of collaboration and inter-organisational working is an opportunity for HRD that is being missed as HRD functions focus on learning within a single organisation.

2. what competences will not be outdated? Are they the ones identified in the presentations but can a curriculum be designed around this?


Just back from a break and on to the next session:

“How doe Innovations in Teaching HRD Link Theory to Practice” by Melika Shirmohammadi & Mina Beigi from Texas A&M. Presented by Mina Beigi. Started with question of whether academic teaching models innovative delivery of HRD? Questions then focused on what innovations and how delivered.

But found only 21 academic papers published on teaching HRD using database searches and snowball the references of articles found. So this is an under-researched area. From the paper found that: innovations addressed different areas but predominantly used a self-regulated pedagogy. Methods included using film excerpts and music; work-based; action learning; reflective learning; case-based; computer-based. Half the papers focused on general HRD concepts and half more specific topics but some absences such as career development. Indicates a lack of reflection on their own practices by HRD academics. While the argument that HRD should be ill-defined in terms of definition but there should be more research and publications on the teaching of HRD. But do academics want to keep their processes in some way private or do not consider their innovations worthy of publication.


But, is this a feature that, at least for UK, is made difficult by the setting of examination criteria by external bodies. So certain contextual conditions may be squeezing out innovation.


Now onto “Virtual Action Learning and HR Offshore Outsourcing” by Cheryl Brook & Vijay Pereira based on a course on current HR debates. The initial questions were on the definitions of offshore outsourcing and the context of HRM in India before looking the use of virtual action learning in a long-term research project.

Define action learning as requiring a number of essential components including questioning at the heart of the process involving a real organisational problem (not a puzzle), involving small action learning sets (up to 6 people – although this may be contested especially on top and bottom of the range of people in a set).

How can virtual action learning (VAL) be facilitated? How might VAL assist the case organisation to address a  real organisational problem? How might VAL contribute to improving and maintaining virtual team relationships and communication skills? The case organisations works almost exclusively in virtual teams in global offshore outsourcing.

The state of HRM in India: Vijay has completed extensive research into HRM in India. India started with concept of HRD and this underpins understanding of HRM. The label of HRM was only introduced as a result of liberalisation of India in 1990s and adoption of terminology from USA. So training and development is at the core of any HRM department.

Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO) niche area of outsourcing such as needs analysis, recruitment etc. and is a large and well established industry in India. So the research context is a complex industry. The case organisation chosen due to existing access and is a micro multi-national company with approx 200 employees and more then 100 clients working in recruitment and talent management.

VAL has a limited research base and is defined by a range of enabling, interactive and collaborative communication technologies – interested in the word “enabling” in the context of ICT. So issues of interest included ensuring the technologies work but also in the building up of relationships and developing high performing virtual teams. Such research requires: organisational readiness and commitment; having a real problem; access, connectivity and time zones; higher levels of listening and developing an atmosphere of inquiry in cross-cultural sets.

The case organisations is interested in dealing with attrition rates; business growth; leadership development and developing high performance work practices. So these are really important issues for the company with a high penalty for failure.

The research team have attained a small research grant and are addressing a key research gap in terms of the industry and VAL.

Question: what was the process of developing the real organisational problems?

So these emerged from previous research and they are now in the process of formulating the action learning set. So starting with a single set of senior managers possibly including the MD co facilitate by the two researchers. Initially the researchers will travel to India but the head office of the organisation is in the UK. A series of virtual set meetings will be set up using tele conferencing.

That is it for the day. Tomorrow is a full day for the conference and more blogging notes to come. 

Space & flows of practice: exploring the relationship between Web 2.0 technologies and a practice perspective on HRD.

Here is a paper abstract accepted for the upcoming UFHRD conference in Brighton:

This paper explores through an analysis of technology enhanced professional learning (TEPL) using social software a practice based approach to understanding and framing human resource development (HRD) and communities of HRD practitioners. Social software has been described as employing web 2.0 technologies in supporting ‘digital social networks’ supporting interactions between social entities (Kieslinger & Hofer 2007, p7) through computer-mediated-communication to form online communities (McAfee 2009). These technologies can include applications such as blogs and micro-blogs, discussion forum, wikis, etc. (Wagner & Bollojou 2005). The use of social media to enable collaborative and peer-to-peer professional development activities has become increasingly common in recent years (McCulloch, et al 2011; Bingham and Conner 2010).

The practice perspective perceives learning and knowledge as relational processes (Cook & Brown 2005) where learning is understood as a social, collective and active process. Learning and knowledge are not possessed (Cook & Brown 2005) but rather are something that people do together (Geiger 2009). In the context of TEPL it can be seen that the main mechanism of practice is textual (Koole 2010). Hakkarainen (2009) points specifically to technologies that generate epistemic artefacts providing a material representation in the digital world of agents’ intangible ideas. Online, such artefacts can be seen specificially as text or discourse objects (Bartel & Garud 2003). So through TEPL using social software, practices are interactions between people and these discourse objects (Orlikowski 2007; Hussenot & Missonier 2010). This interaction can be understood as a process of learning where actors in a network (Aceto et al 2010, p6):

…learn by making and developing connections (intentionally or not) between ideas, experiences, and information, and by interacting, sharing, understanding, accepting, commenting, creating and defending their own opinions, their viewpoints, their current situations and their daily experiences.

Furthermore, such objects and interactions generate consequences that are separate from the intentions of the original authors (Alvesson and Skoldberg 2009, p234).

Lawless et al (2011) describe human resource development as a social and discursive construct. HRD as a can be seen as a practice that is defined by how it is discussed and what discursive resources are mobilised in the practice of HRD (Francis 2007).

This paper explores how HRD practices are assembled in networks (Fenwick 2010) in open online environments for TEPL. The study research sites are two regular open Twitter “chat” events focused on HRD practices and as a learning resource for participating in the events. The research approach uses Actor-Network Theory as a socio-material and practice framework operationalised using Discourse Analysis. The research analyses the interactions between people and discursive objects to explore how HRD practices are identified and framed.

The research finds that specific networks evolved within the “chat” events as actors sought the enrolment of others through processes of translation (Mitev 2009). The dominant discourses of HRD as performance based were replicated (Lawless, et al 2011; Francis 2007). Common discursive repertoires between the two sets of event participants were identified and a number of common viewpoints taken as black-boxed “givens” that acted as obligatory passage points for participants to pass through to be enrolled in specific networks. Clear positions of identity discourses emerged to differentiate members from “others” outside the specific communities (Bragd et al 2008). Noted ‘other’ actors included (pejoratively) ‘management’ and ‘regulations/ compliance’ requirements. A distinction could also be noted in how certain HRD practices were discussed as being for a more particular group of actors able to engage effectively in self-directed learning as against those perceived as lacking the competences to engage in such learning activities.

Rather than realizing the democratic potential of the “architecture for participation” of web 2.0 (Martin et al 2007), the research found that strategies for the containment or management of discursive struggles were often mobilised (Alvesson & Deetz 2000; Alesson & Wilmott 2002) to generate a “co-ordinated management of meaning” (Oswick & Robertson 2009, p186) in the framing of HRD practices. So, as has been argued with workplace learning in general, these open environments for professional development are socially constructed and regulated learning spaces (Billet 2004, p320). Discourse objects act as boundary objects (Denham 2003), a space of negotiation, translation and tensions between actors where (Antonacopoulou 2005, p5):

…tensions capture both the socio-political forces as well as the ‘elasticity’ and fluidity of organizing as different processes and practices connect to provide new possibilities.

Furthermore, the framing of HRD practices could not be identified through the development of a single discourse object but rather as an accumulation of micro-practices of individual actors (Pachler & Daly 2009). So the learning network assemblages framing HRD practices can be understood as textscapes (Keenoy and Oswick 2004) whereby HRD practices can be understood in a particular way in that particular virtual space at that particular time. Thus, a focus of analysis is placed on what Scardamalia & Bereitner (2008) termed ‘ideational content’ focusing on the linkages and patterns between utterances rather than specific text objects themselves. Actors could be identified operating as generalisers summarizing and “black-boxing” certain practices while localisers attempting to translate generalized practices to local micro contexts (Nicolini 2009). So HRD practice can be framed as rhizomatic (Cormier 2008) in that is shaped, reshaped and negotiated by actors in the practice at that time and space.

So it is suggested here that HRD practices can be conceived as the practices of the bricoleur who (Wiseman 2000):

…works with materials that are always second hand … The bricoleur is in possession of a stock of objects (a “treasure”). These possess “meaning” in as much in as much as they are bound together by a set of possible relationships, one of which is concretised by the bricoleur’s choice.

This paper argues that analysing the discursive strategies of actors in open web 2.0 spaces provides an opportunity to analyse discourses of HRD practices as they emerge through the interaction of actors within networks; that these networks and learning practices extend beyond specific organisational or institutional boundaries and that these discursive practices are rhizonomic and hence what can be framed as practices of HRD is in a constant state of fluidity. HRD practices can be understood as bricolage whereby HRD practice is constantly in an “interactive moment” (Shotter 1993, p3). However, it is also suggested that such networks of HRD practices are sites of discursive struggles that can be (unconsciously) contained to inhibit expansive learning (Fuller & Unwin (2004) and constrain new opportunities.  Furthermore, this paper argues that HRD practices and practitioners need to engage with the flows of knowledge interactions and artefacts as they form wider networks of learning that flow beyond, across and between the traditional boundaries of the organisational structure.